Last weekend I found myself living out a moment that I had dreamed about again and again and again. I envisioned a sweet celebration and launch of The Marquisha&Co., girl-gang, extension, The Sanctuary Collective. I prepared for everything, but the overwhelming feeling of gratitude and the influx of support from long-time friends and complete strangers alike.
I hosted #LadiesNightOmaha to celebrate the launch of The Sanctuary Collective, a guaranteed sisterhood collaborative that focuses on restoring hope, prioritizing healing and happiness, and building capacity for women to live whole lives in a very well-intentioned and wellness-centered way. Most importantly, The sanctuary is a safe space for women to be vulnerable and lean into the parts of themselves that they hide, run from, are afraid of, and the parts they just simply do not understand. The meaning behind The Sanctuary Collective is personal and intentional. It’s also simple. The meaning is in the words themselves. Sanctuary: a place of refuge &/or safety. Collective: a cooperative enterprise. This collective is a safe, refuge driven enterprise. It thrives off of energy and collaboration among women, for the betterment of women.
I am often asked, “why?” Why Marquisha&Co.? Why The Sanctuary Collective? Why pour into women you don’t know? and the reality is because it is tied to my purpose. So I do it when I’m exhausted. I do it when I am sad. I do it when I am lonely. I do it when I am mistreated, misunderstood, and misjudged, because I refuse to be misaligned from purpose.
When I started building Marquisha&Co. in November of 2021, I needed The Sanctuary Collective more than I ever had before. I was exhausted. I was unhappy. I was frustrated with spreading myself too thin and trying to find ways to pour into others from a more strategic space. I was tired of doing the same things, in the same ways, and without structure. I was contemplating transitioning my life personally and professionally. I was navigating so many different emotions simultaneously and wanted a way to help others navigate similar feelings of fatigue, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, overwhelming pressures, change, and more.
So, I built The Co.
I took a new approach to this platform and focused solely on what I felt others needed, the gaps in what’s currently available, and the value add that I bring. The Sanctuary Collective has been my favorite project to date. The Sanctuary Co. and/or The Collective as I’ve referred to it, embodies what I believe is one of my life’s greatest gifts, sisterhood. I knew if I was building a space that embodied all of me, a sisterhood effort was mandatory! Growing up, I remember always feeling a sense of responsibility and connectedness to my sister. She’d cry and I’d run to her. She’d fall and I’d help her up. She’d hit me and I wouldn’t hit her back. As we got older, she began to reciprocate this commitment and love and it has offered me an irreplaceable and foundational bond from which I stand, lead, function, and orchestrate. I honor her and the relationship we share because I understand how monumental an impact she’s made.
I learned how to be a woman, a wife, a mama, and a friend, all by way of loving, nurturing, building, and growing with her. She in many ways is responsible for who I am. I am so grateful God saw fit to bless me with a sister. I am so thankful to my parents for her and particularly my mother who made sisterhood feel more like a prerequisite to other things. We couldn’t have friends over if we weren’t in sync with one another. We couldn’t leave the house if things weren’t well inside the house. We weren’t allowed to prioritize other people or things above the family. This teaching made prioritizing my sister as natural as breathing air.
In that same way, The Sanctuary Collective, and all that it promises is likewise vital. When women feel safe, included, supported, valued, and secure, there are no limits to what women can do, achieve, be, or create. This collective is rooted in that, for the betterment of women. A collective commitment to improving, lifting one another up, and creating community to heal, learn, grow, and build capacity to live as our best possible selves isn’t to be taken lightly. So I don’t.
#LadiesNightOmaha was the celebratory launch of The Sanctuary, and served as a test or so I thought. In turn, it became a testament to faith, to hard work, to the potential of sisterhood in my home state of Omaha, Nebraska. I was honored to be in community with women who shared a like interest in building, connecting, seeing, valuing, and loving on another. I am still in awe at the magic I felt in the moments we shared, the smiles, the laughter, the energy. If I could have frozen time to be in that moment for a while longer, I would have. It was incredibly beautiful and heartwarming. I left that event repeatedly saying, “This is what sisterhood feels like.” Sometimes it’s hard for me to explain sisterhood, because so much of what I experience is a feeling. I’ve talked about that feeling several times on Sister to Sister, The Marquisha&Co. Podcast.
To see women enjoying themselves and enjoying the company of one another, even though Ladies Night was the first time many of them had ever met one another, did my heart so much good. I couldn’t believe that I was finally experiencing the love, the energy, the music, and the people in real time. This, I thought to myself, is Sisterhood in The Sanctuary. Don’t believe me?
Visit my YouTube channel for a #LadiesNightOmaha recap : ).
I am so passionate about creating safe spaces for other women to heal and flourish in. It’s made a wealth of difference in my life and I feel so fortunate to have people around me and for me, that believe in my ability to cultivate for others. It is not something I take for granted. I wanted to take my time building this portion of The Co. because I recognize its potential to have a much larger impact than my 1:1 counseling and consulting sessions do. The impact of this collective reaches far beyond me and as each woman grows in hope, happiness, healing, capacity building, etc., so does her family, so does her community, so does her workplace, so does her purpose. I am so excited to see how this idea toward unity, will alter lives.
So, without further ado, The Sanctuary Collective is open for business!
I think women have the power to create sister circles in every space that we occupy. My commitment to developing The Sanctuary Collective in Omaha is intentional and strategic. (1) The network of women in my home city is incredibly diverse. (2) There’s a need + market demand + lack of opportunities for women to effectively, and regularly connect, build, and collaborate. (3) My purpose calls me to do this work. I feel a personal responsibility to helping other women find the strength, meaning, loyalty, love, and connection I share with my sister. It has afforded me so many things in this life. There is a direct correlation between the sacred relationship we share and the things we have been able to collectively overcome. I think expanding that network and inviting other women to participate, leverage resources, take collective responsibility, and action for all things concerning one another, with structure, financial support, mentorship, and a prioritization of hope, healing, happiness, and holistic wellness, are a recipe for REAL success!
Too often we see other women meeting, growing, flourishing, giving, healing, or not–and instead of joining her or meeting her where she’s at, we judge her. We make up assumptions about why she is who she is, or why she does the things she does when the reality is, we all need one another. I saw something online a few days ago that read, “The discomfort we feel when we see another woman dancing, singing, expressing herself, walking confidently, crying, sharing her truth, making money, healing, loving herself…it belongs to us. Our discomfort is not a demand for her to be smaller. It’s a call for us to heal.” When I think about what this collective has the power to do, it’s that. It’s to call one another to heal and to invite one another to dance, sing, express, walk, cry, share, make money, heal, and love ourselves collectively. We can do it, together!! God put something in each and every one of us and when we leverage the greatest pieces of one another, we have the potential to be the greatest collective. That is the priority of this Marquisha&Co. extension, greatness. Greatness in sisterhood. Greatness in healing. Greatness in mentorship. Greatness in community.
As women, we owe it to ourselves to give pieces of ourselves to ourselves. When we are no good to ourselves it shows. When we are not prioritizing our own needs, wants, desires, we disrespect ourselves and we deny ourselves of the opportunity to function as our greatest possible self. I think that’s unacceptable. I wake up everyday with a commitment to myself and my God given purpose before everything else. I must. I function like my life depends on it, because in so many ways, it does and so does the lives of those relying on me walking in my purpose to better serve them and help them change their lives too.
Sisterhood in The Sanctuary is not like sisterhood anywhere else. We welcome all parts of every woman. While this collective is a members-only extension of Marquisha&Co., all are welcome to apply. In addition, we prioritize diversity in each cohort, so that women have the opportunity to connect with women who are not like them and increase levels of organic learning and relationship building. The focus of this collective is not to replicate what’s happening in other spaces. It’s to identify women with a willingness toward collectively healing, growing, accomplishing, and improving. The notion that women cannot collectively achieve, dream, grow, agree to disagree, build, etc. is false. The Sanctuary Collective exists to prove that further.
Sisterhood is vital, but it is also optional. If you are a woman reading this, I invite you to consider, apply, and make sisterhood a non-negotiable in your life. I invite you to opt-in to collective growth, development, healing and so much more. The Sanctuary Collective welcomes you. My guarantee to you is that you’ll be seen, you’ll be heard, you’ll be valued, you’ll improve, heal, accomplish, and connect with women on a similar path.
Still have questions? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to Corky Canvas Omaha, especially Sammi and Holly, for serving as incredible co-hosts and creating a safe space for us to enjoy one another’s company, great music, and the custom painting for the event. It felt like home. To the women who helped me to make my dream launch a reality, you will forever hold a special place in my heart. And to my village–who inspires, encourages, and helps me in all things, I send you my gratitude! You all know who you are! I am so grateful to God for placing you all alongside me and I am better because of each you.